Daily Short Story Diary - Week 32

August 10, 2019

Day 218 Aug 4, 2019

AGGROPHOBIA by L. Micallef

The 13th Pan Book of Horror Stories – 1972

Horror – 7 Pages

Not even a hint of red herring here, and there was room for it. This thing begins and once the girl starts talking, it’s obvious what the boy’s going to do. Like a total straight line. Not a good attribute for an intended suspenseful horror story. Good writing though, no clunky bits.

**

 

Day 219 Aug 5, 2019

THE BLACK SLEEVE OF DESTINY by Stephen Graham Jones

After the People Lights Have Gone Off – 2014 (story originally published in Amazing Stories of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, 2011)

Horror – 13 Pages

Maybe not quite horror, but ominous and downright weird. It’s a really fun premise that reads almost like it came from a comic book, if comic books were as silly as TV dads always said they were. But taking it seriously, SGJ delivers a pretty good punch and atmosphere surrounding the hungry sweater sleeve.

****

 

Day 220 Aug 6, 2019

KNOCKER by Darcy Coates

Small Horrors – 2016

Horror – 5 Pages (about, digital)

Holy that was rough. Poor editing. Clumsy, redundant writing. Inexplicable, fortuitous plot points. Bad story. Quitting this book at 3%, only two stories in.

*

 

Day 221 Aug 7, 2019

NOWHERE by Joyce Carol Oates

Give Me Your Heart – 2010 (story originally published in Conjunctions, 2006)

Crime – 39 Pages

This one’s a bit all over the place so as to encompass a vast picture of a little scene. It has a couple moments where character decision gives a little rise of panic, but mostly the suspense is convoluted to the point of tepid. Well-written, but too much story for so little impact (given that it’s in a book with a sales pitch of tales of mystery and suspense…no mystery and very little suspense). Not bad, just a little humdrum amidst so many fantastic stories in this collection.

***

 

Day 222 Aug 8, 2019

FEATHERS by Raymond Carver

Where I’m Calling From – Selected Stories 1989 (story originally published in Cathedral, 1981)

General – 23 Pages

This isn’t the greatest Carver, but it’s one of the more obvious examples of why he’s one of the greatest writers. It’s the layers and the growth. The changing opinions and the unexpected turns. The blatant shifts maybe take away from this story itself, like they’re maybe too big, but man was it fun. A peacock in the kitchen amidst utter normalcy and banality.

****

 

Day 223 Aug 9, 2019

FISH STORY by Fredric Brown

Nightmares and Geezenstacks – 1961

Horror – 3 Pages

From the onset, you kind of figure what’s going to happen, or rather a variation of what’s going to happen, but in flash, quick as it is, you hardly get time to ponder. There’s a wee hooked turn that imprints a wicked grin, though slight. It’s okay and befitting and a little funny.

****

 

Day 224 Aug 10, 2019

THE SLEEP TIGHT MOTEL by Lisa Unger

The Sleep Tight Motel (Dark Corners Collection #2)

Horror – 40 Pages (about, digital)

I’d never read Lisa Unger before and saw this on Kindle Unlimited and thought no time like the present. Anyway, she’s a great suspense writer. The pacing is fantastic, the imagery is strong, the characters are inviting. All that said, this reads like a horror story by a talented writer who doesn’t read much horror. I mean, this exact story has been done and then some, not just in books either. I think this story exists in just about every horror TV series ever produced, the way Tales From the Crypt did things, they probably produced it twice. Good effort, but nothing original or unexpected…but sometimes you want a hotdog, knowing the taste, knowing how much you like it, so you get it and enjoy.

****

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